Does your dog watch TV?
Someone shared an interesting and very informative article with me, so I thought I would pass it on:
Nothing is worse than leaving for work or to run errands, only to be mournfully followed to the door by my dog’s heartbreaking puppy-dog eyes pleading for me to stay. Saying goodbye to my pup even for a few hours may be hard on me, but more importantly, and as other dog owners would agree, we worry about how hard it is on them.
According to the AAHA, about 10 to 15 percent of dogs experience some sort of separation anxiety. Unfortunately, when pets feel abandoned they may lash out by misbehaving, whether it’s peeing in the house, chewing on furniture, or partaking in other forms of destruction, or even just barking incessantly.
There have been previous attempts at aiding separation anxiety in dogs, including the Thundershirt, calming collars and simple training methods. Now, a recent digital option to help these anxious pups has appeared in the form of a new DirecTV channel, DOGTV. The channel was created by a group of leading dog experts, including scientist Prof. Nicholas Dodman and dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, and broadcasts 24/7 programming scientifically designed for dogs.
But what does “scientifically designed for dogs” really mean? The main features seem to be that the programs are color-adjusted for dogs’ eyes, and feature 3-6 minute segments meant to relax, stimulate and expose dogs to situations familiar to them from everyday life. It all sounds great in theory, but many owners will still question is if DOGTV actually works.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that any relaxation and stimulation for pets is good, but has also cautioned that dog television may not work for every dog. There may be critics of DOGTV — pet owners who say it has no effect on their pets, that dogs won’t be interested in the visuals TV can present, or that their dogs simply bark at the screen. However, a poll taken by the American Kennel Club revealed that 60 percent of dog owners said their dog watched TV for short periods of time fairly often. So, if the channel can help relieve even some dogs who suffer with separation anxiety and boredom behavior, you may find, like me, that DOGTV is worth investing in.
As absurd as TV for dogs might sound, I must admit that my own dog, Oliver, seems to love it. I already knew he was intrigued by the television — whenever I turned on a movie, he stared at the screen until the movie finished, as though he was truly interested in what he saw. So I tested out DOGTV, and although I don’t have a camera to monitor his activities when I am not there, I believe the television shows distracted and/or entertained him enough to stop chewing my pillows. It provides him with the mental stimulation that I cannot give him while away at work, when he gets tired of sleeping and starts looking for something to entertain him. Instead of just looking out the window each day and then eating a pillow, Oliver has something to keep his attention and calm him down.
So, for pet owners who spend the majority of the day out of the home, and for dogs who suffer with separation anxiety, DOGTV may just be the solution to help not only keep your pet calm and entertained, but also your home in order and your favorite pair of shoes safe. I would suggest reading up on the science behind the new channel and the opinions of experts before investing in DOGTV yourself, but I think overall that the new channel is a great idea.
(The above was written by someone else. I have not used DOGTV for Maya and Pierson, but I can see how it could be helpful for some dogs. I’ve seen studies of how music can sooth a dog, so why not TV? It has sound too, plus visual stimulation. When I worked at a boarding kennel years ago, we had special “rooms” with TVs that dog’s parents could pay extra for. Some of our customers were certain the TV helped soothe their dog because the TV was on for them every day whenever they went to work. I imagine the voice of Rachael Ray and the voices of the characters on soap operas provided a familiar comfort for these dogs when their parents were out of town for several days.)
What do you think of the idea of DOGTV?